In light of the European Commission’s recent political agreement reached through the European Parliament and Council, the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) introduces a fairer, greener, more animal friendly and flexible CAP starting in January 2023. The agreement features “Higher environmental and climate ambitions, aligned with Green Deal objectives and… a fairer distribution of CAP support, especially to small and medium-sized family farms and young farmers.” Each EU Member State will now need to prepare a strategic plan to implement the policy over the next five years,and this leaves some room for debate on where best to begin. To that end, in advance of the European Commission’s upcoming “Fit for 55 package,” POLITICO is “convening top EU policymakers, farmers and experts for the second chapter of its Drive Sustainable Progress series to explore the pathway to green Europe’s agricultural system” through their Farming in a in a climate neutral Europe” campaign, available on live feed here.

As a follow-up to the IPBN’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Sustainability Conference in Lisbon, the Algarve committee of the Ireland Portugal Business Network (IPBN), like Politico and many others, has decided to focus on Sustainable Development Goal 15 (SDG 15) – Life on Land to further explore the sector and our collective futures. With the help of IPBN partners Tourism de Algarve and Tourism of Portugal in Ireland, the network has created an exciting lineup for its AgroTourism conference at the Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa facilities in the Algarve on Friday, October 14, thanks to the tireless efforts of the IPBN Algarve Committee. The conference is meant to focus on reviewing organic farming, forestry, and the water supply in the Algarve, local products and producers, and what the local businesses and communities are doing to help foster growth and sustainability within the sector.

The President of Turismo de Algarve, João Fernandes, will give the opening statement, likely mentioning the Algarve’s set of measures currently being prepared to reduce water consumption in tourist resorts. João told Lusa, “We are gathering information from business associations linked to tourism to present a set of proposals for concrete measures to reduce water consumption so that they become effective.” The Algarve Tourism Region (RTA) said in a recent statement that, “the measures do not address human consumption, but rather uses of non-potable water, such as irrigation of golf courses and green spaces and the possibility of deactivating water of ornamental sources.” On the subject, IPBN media partner TNews reported that, “The Government approved on 22 July new measures to combat drought, which include reducing consumption in tourist resorts in the Algarve and works on reservoirs in Trás-os-Montes, as announced by the ministers of the Environment and Agriculture.”

This appropriately-themed introduction will be followed by the first panel discussion, which will focus on local farming, forestry and the water supply in the Algarve, moderated by Brian Shanahan, IPBN Algarve Committee member. The IPBN has invited guest speakers André Menitra Matos, Executive Quality Director, Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa, Nuno Neto, Director de Património e Produção Florestal, The Navigator Company, John Paul Prior, Director of Sales Strategy and Technical Development, Farmony, and a representative from Herdade dos Grous to discuss the big issues. The panelists will discuss sustainable forestry and certification processes, biodiversity, forest protection, social responsibility, research and development investments, and more. “According to the Navigator Company, “The assessment of risks and opportunities and the mitigation of impacts from forestry operations etceteras are, after all, the basis of a technical reference that aims to respect and reconcile environmental, social and economic interests as integral and fundamental parts of the forest management model.” The panel will also be highlighting local farmers and Vila Vita Parc’s Herdade dos Grous (farm and wine estate in Albernôa, Alentejo), where Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa goes to supply itself and its whopping 11 restaurants (including Ocean with two Michelin stars) with quality products.

After a coffee break, which will include juice, honey, and chocolate products from local Algarve producers, the case studies panel will begin, with presentations from Vanda Lopes, CEO & Founder of Algarve Treasures, Tours & Experiences, Ana Oliveira, a local honey producer working with Bees in Tube, Mara Mourinho, a local Mourinho fruit producer with Valle dos Três Irmãos and IPBN member Michael Stock, a local wine producer from Quinta dos Vales.

Please register to join us as this event will undoubtedly make an impact. Please note that after the conference, the Whale restaurant will be open to welcome the participants. Á la carte and advance booking is advised. We count on your presence in the Algarve!

The conference is free of charge and open to IPBN members and non-members.